Australian basketball legend Andrew Gaze believes it’s a “realistic prospect” Josh Giddey will be traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Giddey’s statistics are down across the board in his third NBA season — he’s averaging 11.6pts, 6.3rbs, 4.6 assists and 25 minutes per game.
Giddey was given plenty of opportunities in his first two seasons but looks like the odd man out at OKC with Chet Holmgren unlocking a free flowing offence alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jalen Williams and a bevy of sharpshooters.
The NBA is yet to conclude its investigation into allegations Giddey had an inappropriate relationship with a minor.
He won’t face charges after police in California closed its investigation having found “no corroborating evidence” to support the claims made against Giddey.
The Thunder beat defending champions the Denver Nuggets 105-100 on Thursday and remain in the mix at the top of the Western Conference standings heading into the second half of the season.
It’s rare young teams — the Thunder have an average age of just 23.8 years — go all the way to the championship in their first playoffs run together.
So it’s likely OKC will stick fat with their current squad and hold fire on an all-in trade for now.
But many believe it’s only a matter of time until the Thunder pull the trigger on a trade for another big man to support seven-footer Holmgren against the NBA’s most imposing centres.
Josh Giddey could soon be on the trade table for OKC. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)
“I think it’s a realistic prospect, not just for the playing reasons, but also the economics of the situation,” Gaze told CODE Sports, pointing out Giddey could also be the victim of a salary cap crunch as he approaches his rookie extension.
“Chet is going to be a max (salary) player, you’ve got Shai and Jalen Williams who can shoot.
“The Thunder is trying to surround this core with shooters, and while Josh is getting better at that, it becomes harder when he isn’t getting the ball as much.
“He is playing more off the ball – and with his skillset – it probably isn’t the best situation for him right now.”
The NBA’s mid-season trade deadline is next Thursday February 8.
“He can’t get the same statistical return when you don’t have the same opportunities,” Gaze said.
“I watched one of his games and he was just getting a good cardio workout. He wasn’t really involved too much, so it’s going to be an interesting period that he goes through.
“I don’t think it will be the sort of thing where he wakes up one day and is told he will be traded.
“I think they’ll make sure it is done in collaboration, not just saying pack your bags and you are off to wherever.”
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor said in November it would be in the best interest of both parties to facilitate a trade.
“Giddey is the trade piece. Simple as that,” O’Connor told The Mismatch podcast.
“They have to trade Giddey for a big. They need a big next to Chet Holmgren in the front court.
“I like Giddey a lot. It’s nothing against him individually as a player. It’s about the greater good of the team and probably the greater good for the team too. It’s not a great fit for him.
“I don’t think the fit is great and I worry about his jump shot.
“I think with Giddey he’s a great young player who is going to have a long, successful career but it might not be in Oklahoma City.”